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Scout's Notebook: OT Free Playing With More Confidence


OXNARD, Calif. – Here are some thoughts from the practice field in Oxnard:

  • Just a guess from my experiences in this league but I expect if in fact that the Cowboys made an offer to Brian Watters, I do not expect a quick decision from him. If he does decide to play, my gut he tells me that he will do everything in his power not to take part in this training camp until he absolutely has to put those pads on. Veterans hate training camp with a passion, I see this situation being no different.

  • On the practice on Sunday, Doug Free had a rep in one-on-one pass rush where he's technique reminded me of some of his plays from the last two seasons. He was just flat smoked off the edge on his very first rep of the day which made me take notice because I was concerned that was he going to let that rep bring him back into those bad habits and technique issues. To Free's credit, he didn't hang his head or appear as he was lacking confidence. His next rep was a much better kick away from the line and his hands were in much better position to deal with the rusher. Free was able to build off that rep and carry it into the twist period when working with Mackenzy Bernadeau they were able to successfully pass two stunts but also single block one-on-one. Free then went into team period and once again working with Bernadeau to his side, were productive when blocking for the run but also handling the pass protections as well. There was a side of me that believed that if Free struggled he would revert back to his old habits but that wasn't the case at all. Free has been very consistent on the positive side in the way he has handled these practices and two games.
  • It was the first time on the practice field for Jermey Parnell and Demetress Bell, who returned in an attempt to work their way back into more full time work. What was disappointing about the Parnell injury was that I believed that he could have pushed Doug Free for that right tackle job but now he is going to once again be reduced to the swing tackle and if something were to happen to Smith or Free, then he would see action. Parnell was not terrible in the work that he showed last season which actually helped Free as well because of the time off the field, I thought it refocused him. The front office has always had a plan for Bell to get him in shape and use him in these preseason games as a veteran player to give a steady effort for the evaluation of the offense but also to help these young quarterbacks in protection. There were no huge costs in bringing in Bell and this front office hopes that this move might help him once again play to the form he showed in Buffalo.  [embedded_ad]
  • Very curious this week if Alex Tanney gets the majority of the reps against Arizona like Nick Stephens did against Oakland. Once Stephens settled down, I was impressed in which he carried himself in this past game. Tanney might have more talent overall but Stephens has not been a disaster from my point of view. I have always preached that these young quarterbacks can either help you evaluate your squad or they can leave you scratching your head. This might be Tanney's week to shine or lose ground to Stephens in potentially a practice squad spot.
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